|“|| What?! But I'm what you wanted! Mary's dead. Don't you understand? She's not coming back! But I can be yours... I'll be here for you forever... I'll never hurt you like she did! So why don't you want me?!
Maria is a major character and arguably the primary antagonist of Silent Hill 2, while she serves as the protagonist of Silent Hill 2: Born from a Wish. She meets James Sunderland in Rosewater Park in Silent Hill, Maine, and stays with him sporadically after that. James must protect her, as Maria does not have any weapons to defend herself with, and it is game over if she dies.
Maria is an incredibly enigmatic character with a mysterious existence and undefined origin. It can be posited that Maria is a mental construct or figment of James' seemingly delusional imagination. Similar to a dream character, she is seen defying death and questions James's perceptions of whether or not her death actually occurred.
She is physically virtually identical to James's late wife Mary. Physically, Mary and Maria have the same face and voice according to James, but their "hair and clothes are different" – James is shocked by their eerie resemblance, initially mistaking Maria for his deceased wife. Their similarities end where their personalities begin however, as Maria's personality is far more sexually extroverted than Mary's, which is reflected in her apparel.
Maria could be seen as some sort of reincarnation or ghostly form of Mary, as a supernatural and possibly sinister creature of unknown origin, or some combination thereof.
James is both attracted to Maria and fearful of what she might represent, and he struggles to understand her. Maria appears to be a manifestation created by James's desperation to see Mary again and fill the void her absence has left in his life, an idea supported by the title of Maria's scenario, Born from a Wish. Born from a Wish suggests that in the beginning, even Maria isn't really sure what or who she really is, but by the time she first encounters James, she is beginning to "remember" him. Since the title is called Born from a Wish, it could be assumed that Maria is one of James's wishes, since Mary, in her bedridden state, wasn't everything James wanted. It could also reference James's wish to see his wife again, even if it is only as an illusion.
Maria is possibly also a manifestation of Mary's desire to be perfect for her husband, and this would explain why Maria possesses memories that even James does not know about, such as knowing what Laura's favorite toy is. Alternatively, Maria could represent the inverse: the culmination of traits he secretly wished Mary possessed.
Cumulatively, Maria was likely constructed by a combination of James's delusions as a result of his inability to bear the weight of the crime of killing his wife, and Mary's lingering clinginess and desperate desire to be the perfect wife. It is also likely Maria was created by the powers of the town to test James's loyalty and devotion to Mary.
Another theory likens Maria to a guardian angel of some sort. This could be evidence by her desire to help Ernest Baldwin move on, assisting James to realize the truth, her desire to protect Laura, her working at "Heaven's" Night, and the Lady of the Door (who is claimed to be an angel), as Maria is killed by Pyramid Head after entering the door.
However, it is also possible that Maria is a negative being such as a female demon or succubus, meant to punish James by keeping him trapped in a sort of purgatory. Evidence which could support this reading can be found in Maria's apparent illness (which the game points out twice) and her repeated reincarnations after violent deaths, which has an obvious distressing impact upon James.
The instruction manual describes her as the opposite of Mary, "cheerful and energetic", but she is also rather dark and moody. Her personality is highly unpredictable; sometimes she is fearful and clingy, other times she speaks tenderly to James and flirts with him, and in some scenes, she is shown as more teasing or even cruel. In the beginning of Born from a Wish, Maria reveals she hates being alone and that she's afraid of death and being in pain.
She seems to have aspects of Mary's personality and memories, given that she is a representation/illusion of James's wife. This behavior is exhibited in the labyrinth jail cell, for example; she cycles from Mary's sweet, soft tone and even her memories to Maria's more seductive voice. She seems consistently concerned about Laura, a little girl who was Mary's friend during her hospitalization. Maria also shares Mary's desire for James to love her. For example, in the hospital, she asks what James would do if he couldn't find Mary. At one point in the hospital, Maria begins coughing, swallows some pills, and rests on a bed, evoking Mary's illness.
Due to some of her behavior and her attempts to make James accept her, even going to the extreme of trying to kill him when he refuses her (although it is possible that when she transformed into a monster, she couldn't control her own actions), she can be considered the primary antagonist of Silent Hill 2, as she tries to "trap" James into his past, refusing to let him go. Maria is absurdly attached to James, despite the fact that he clearly told her that he relatively recently lost his wife to illness and she's only known him for a few hours. Maria's love for James is unrequited, and James only reciprocates this love in the "Maria" ending. Maria's violent behavior regarding James's rejection of her could be seen as immature and childish, although, again, it is possible she couldn't control her actions as a beast.
Despite her actions, Maria is not evil or malevolent. In fact, Maria seems to be rather sweet and thoughtful at times, calling James kind, being worried about Laura being surrounded by monsters, and in the "Maria" ending going as far as to ask about Mary. This may be a part of the "trap" or, perhaps, a part of Mary's personality that is shown through Maria. However, in Born from a Wish, she is self-aware or sentient to an extent and seems to be helping Ernest of her own volition. Because of this, the line between Maria's free will and her duty as a manifestation of James and Mary is quite blurred, at least insofar as she is not currently around James.
Maria may be having an existential crisis, seeking purpose and meaning. Maria believes James may have this meaning despite being warned by Ernest not to seek him out, and she refrains from suicide because of it.
Maria frequently likes to remind James that she is "real". When they first meet, she states, "I don't look like a ghost, do I? See, feel how warm I am!", and later, "It doesn't matter who I am. I'm here for you, James. See? I'm real". These statements are open to many interpretations, including that Maria is solely meant for James himself, as he (besides Ernest, who was hinted at as being a ghost) is the only person she encounters. This is most likely the reason she stays outside of the bowling alley, avoiding Eddie Dombrowski and Laura. Maria is never present whenever James encounters another human; she is aware of Laura and claims to have seen her, but the two of them are never actually seen together, nor does Laura explicitly mention Maria. Her isolation from the other characters enhances her phantom-like qualities and furthers the idea that she was created solely for James. Her repeating to James that she is real may be her trying to convince him – or perhaps even herself – that she is. In Born from a Wish, she interrupts Ernest and claims "that's just what he believes" and he "doesn't really know anything" when he speaks to her about identity, James, and other things relating to her purpose as James's manifestation.
Silent Hill 2
Born from a Wish
The Born from a Wish scenario serves as Maria's introduction in the Silent Hill universe, although this prequel game was created after the release of Silent Hill 2. The Maria seen in Born from a Wish is much less sassy and confident than in the main game, and it is suggested that she has no memory of who she is or how she came to be there, furthering the ambiguity of her origins. It is also learned that Silent Hill is Maria's birth town, indicating that Maria had either lived in Silent Hill before or this is just where she was created from James's or Mary's wish.
In the beginning, Maria wakes up alone and frightened in Heaven's Night. After pondering to herself about what she should do, she eventually decides to try and find someone else in the town. Armed with a revolver and cleaver to protect herself, she begins to wander through the monster-filled streets of South Vale until she eventually enters the Baldwin Mansion.
Here, she encounters the owner of the mansion, Ernest Baldwin, although she never actually sees him; all their conversations are shared between locked doors. Ernest speaks in a strange monotone, and asks her to find him the "white liquid" in the Blue Creek Apartments to help him bring back his dead daughter Amy. Maria assists him with this, even though she acknowledges it may not work, stating, "I don't mind fighting for an impossible cause". This could be a reference to her persistence in trying to win James over.
After Maria retrieves the "white liquid" for Ernest, he reveals slightly more about Maria to her and tells her about a man named James Sunderland. He warns Maria that James is a bad man, and that he's looking for "the you that isn't you". This seems to stir something in Maria, who begins to remember things about James. Among these memories is the knowledge that underneath, James is a kind person. Maria then opens the door, but the room where Ernest is in is empty, implying he was a ghost. This could be seen as being somewhat ironic as Ernest may be just as real to Maria as Maria is to James.
Disappointed, Maria leaves the Baldwin Mansion and considers suicide, holding her revolver against her head, but refrains and tosses it over a wall. It is unknown why Maria does this as she is in a monster-filled town; Maria may not trust herself with a weapon, or may want to be dependent on James. Regardless, she decides to follow her fate and walks to Rosewater Park, hoping that James will accept her while whispering his name.
Letter from Silent Heaven
James first meets Maria in Rosewater Park; seeing her silhouette in the fog, he mistakes her for Mary. He is taken aback by how much she physically resembles Mary, and her response to this is sultry and somewhat mocking. As James is about to leave, she then turns clingy, pointing out that there are monsters everywhere and asking if she can stay with him, to which he reluctantly agrees.
Maria also knows James's name and says it many times throughout the rest of the game, even though he never told her his name before. James does not seem to notice this. As seen in Born from a Wish, Maria was told James's name by Ernest; however, she also said she knows James is a "bad man", implying she has at least some of Mary's memories.
James and Maria eventually make their way to Pete's Bowl-O-Rama. James enters but Maria stays behind, her excuse being that she "hates bowling". When James returns minutes later, Maria says that she saw Laura run out of the building and insists that James help look for her.
Eventually they follow Laura to Brookhaven Hospital. They explore the hospital together until Maria suddenly becomes sick. James tells her to rest and leaves her in room S3. If the player checks on her, she will still be there, alive, albeit looking very unwell. Later on, when James traverses into the Otherworld version of the hospital, Maria is nowhere to be found, but several empty medicine bottles are nearby. Fortunately, Maria bumps into James in the hospital's basement, but she grows angry at James's lack of concern towards her well-being and his devotion to Mary. Maria helps James lift open a heavy fridge door to obtain the lead ring to open the door to the basement. While being chased through the hospital's basement, James outpaces Maria and makes it to a malfunctioning elevator. As he turns around, he can only look on in horror as Maria is suddenly skewered by Pyramid Head and his spear, killing her almost instantly.
While exploring the labyrinth, James finds Maria alive and perfectly well, although she is locked in a cell. She confuses James by talking to him in a very peculiar manner and behaving in a way similar to Mary, especially when she mentions a videotape in the Lakeview Hotel. She then reverts back to her old self and tries to seduce James, hinting sexual favors if he gets her out of the cell. Desperate and confused, James promises to return once he's found a way to rescue her from the cell, but when he does finally return, Maria is dead again; she appears to have been beaten to death. James takes a moment to mourn before leaving.
In the Fog World Lakeview Hotel, James finds Maria alive again, strung up and being tortured by two Pyramid Heads. Maria calls out for James to help, but again he can only watch as one of the humanoid creatures impales Maria in front of him with its spear. He realizes that Pyramid Head keeps killing Maria in order to remind him of his crime and to punish him for murdering Mary.
James fights the two Pyramid Heads, and they realize that they cannot defeat him; they kill themselves as they are no longer needed because James finally understands his sin.
There are two different outcomes for Maria, depending on what ending the player receives. The ending is based on subtle aspects of how Maria is treated during the game. If the player keeps Maria nearby, protects her well from monsters, follows her orders and visits her frequently while she is feeling sick at the hospital, they are more likely to get the "Maria" ending. Skipping Mary's conversation with James in the hotel hallway will also help.
In the "Leave", "In Water", and "Rebirth" endings, James ascends to the roof and Maria is there, although she disguises herself as Mary in a final, desperate attempt to make him stay with her. However, James tells her he no longer needs her, as she could never substitute the love he shared with Mary. Angered by this, she transforms into the final boss and tries to kill James, but ends up being defeated. Maria crashes to the floor and whispers his name, until James finally kills her for good.
In the "Maria" ending, when James ascends to the roof, Mary appears instead of Maria. She tells him that James killed her because she was a burden to him, and he admits that it's the truth. Mary tells James she will never forgive him for what he did and transforms into the final boss. After she is defeated, James is looking at Toluca Lake from Rosewater Park, where he first met Maria. Here, he reunites with Maria, who is once again alive and she gives him Mary's letter. They leave Silent Hill together; however, Maria starts coughing along the way, possibly implying she has the same illness Mary had suffered from, and that the events that drove James to murder may repeat themselves and that he will eventually come Full Circle.
|“|| In the original scenario, the heroine also had an existence characterized by a double personality. The first personality is "Mary", so for the other, the name "Maria" is derived from that.
Silent Hill 2: Born from a Wish
- "What do I do now? Do I fight... and live? Or do those monsters get me? I don't have any reason to go on living, but... I'm scared to die. I'm so afraid of pain. Should I... run away? I want to find somebody. I don't like being alone. But... but is there anyone left alive?"
- "You want to be alone in this insane asylum?"
- "Ernest, Amy... she isn't...?! I'm sorry... I'm sorry I reminded you..."
- "I don't mind fighting for an impossible cause. Anyway, it beats just giving up and doing nothing."
- "Anyway, that's just what you think. You don't really know anything. That's fine."
- Maria: "You think miracles can really happen?"
Ernest: "This is Silent Hill."
Maria: "Yeah, maybe that's the problem."
- Ernest: "Maria, the Gods are here. You know it too. You were born in this town."
Maria: "I'm not sure "God" is the right word..."
Silent Hill 2: Letter from Silent Heaven
- "Do I look like your girlfriend?"
- "My name is Maria. I don't look like a, uh... ghost, do I? See? Feel how warm I am?"
- "Don't get so mad. I was just joking."
- "You were gonna just leave me? With all these monsters around? I'm all alone here. Everyone else is gone. I look like Mary... don't I? You loved her, right? Or maybe... you hated her."
- "James... wait a minute... I'm kind of tired. It's just a hangover..."
- "James, I want to ask you something. What if... what if you can't find Mary? What will you do?"
- "Anyway?! What do you mean 'anyway'?! You don't sound very happy to see me! I was almost killed back there! Why didn't you try to save me?! All you care about is that dead wife of yours! I've never been so scared in my whole life! You couldn't care less about me... could you?"
- "Then stay with me! Don't ever leave me alone! You're supposed to take care of me!"
- "So what about Laura? Did you find her? We've got to find her! I never met her before. I just feel sorry for her. She's all alone... And for some reason... I feel like it's up to me to protect her."
- "Come on, you're supposed to be the big man around here. How's a little girl like me supposed to help?"
- "What's this? Not very cute, is it? Here James. You take it." (after finding the lead ring)
- "What was THAT...?" (after the Trick or Treat Box radio transmission)
- "James! JAMES! JAMESSSSSSSSSSS!" (killed by Pyramid Head)
- "James, honey... did something happen to you? After we got separated in that long hallway? Are you confusing me with someone else? You were always so forgetful... remember that time in the hotel? You said you took everything, but you forgot that video tape we made. I wonder if it's still there..."
- "It doesn't matter who I am. I'm here for you, James. See? I'm real."
- "Don't you want to touch me? Come and get me. I can't do anything through these bars. Hurry back, okay?"
- "When will you ever stop making that mistake? Mary's dead. You killed her." ("Leave" ending)
- "What?! You must be joking. But I can be yours! I'll be here for you forever. And I'll never yell at you, or make you feel bad! That's what you wanted! I'm different than Mary! How can you throw me away?!" ("Leave" ending)
- "No! I won't let you! You deserve to die too, James!" ("Leave" ending)
- "Wrong again. Mary's dead. You killed her." ("In Water" ending)
- “What do you mean?! But I can be yours! I’ll be here for you forever! And I’ll never yell at you or make you feel bad! That’s what you wanted!” (“In Water” ending)
- "No, James. I won’t let you. I'll never let you have your Mary back!" ("In Water" ending)
- "What?! But I'm what you wanted! Mary's dead. Don't you understand? She's not coming back! But I can be yours... I'll be here for you forever. I'll never hurt you like she did! So why don't you want me?!" ("Rebirth" ending)
- "Awww.. James. C'mon, James! You must be joking!" ("Rebirth" ending)
- "James.... James... James..." (Maria's final words)
- "You killed Mary again...?" (to James in the "Maria" ending)
- There is a strong possibility Maria was visually designed based on Christina Aguilera's appearance at the 1999 Teen Choice Awards. Aguilera's middle name is also Maria; however, this is possibly just a coincidence.
- Both Mary and Maria are voiced by the same voice actor, alluding to their eerie similarity. Even James notes their similar voices when he meets Maria.
- There is persistent butterfly and moth symbolism surrounding Maria in the game. She has a butterfly tattoo on her abdomen, and in many cultures, butterflies represent rebirth, which is relevant to her being a new form of Mary (not unlike how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly). In the final boss fight, Mary/Maria attacks with a swarm of black moths, a symbol of death in some cultures.
- Maria's occupation is questionable. The Book of Lost Memories simply mentions it as "dancer". In the novelization, she says she used to work at Heaven's Night but apparently doesn't anymore. However, in Born from a Wish and Letter from Silent Heaven, Maria still has access to Heaven's Night, holding the keys to the establishment.
- Maria is the first playable female character in the main series. However, she is not the first female protagonist; this distinction belongs to Heather Mason in Silent Hill 3. Cybil Bennett is technically the first playable female, though only in a spin-off game, the Play Novel: Silent Hill.
- The name "Maria" is the Latin form of "Mary", often used to refer to the Virgin Mary in traditional Latin songs and compositions.
- In Lost Memories: The Art & Music of Silent Hill, a photo of Laura and Maria sitting on a wall can be found.
- The design of Maria's towel seen in her room in Heaven's Night resembles Mary's clothes.
- In Born from a Wish, Maria can examine a phone in Baldwin Mansion and comment, "I've got no reason to use the phone", despite possibly being trapped in a demonic hellish town full of monsters. Earlier, Maria even said that she yearns to find someone, as she doesn't like being alone. In the first game, Cybil implies that phones don't work in the Fog World. However, it is strange that Maria makes no attempts to discover this herself, but this could be due to Maria being a manifestation and having subconscious knowledge of Silent Hill.
- In Born from a Wish, if Maria examines a teddy bear in Amy's room, she comments that Laura would love it, suggesting she has Mary's memories. Maria then wonders, "Laura...? Who am I talking about?" Considering her uncertainty, however, it is likely that these memories are blotchy.
- There are posters of Maria in the bathrooms in the beginning of Silent Hill 2.
- When James returns to Maria's hospital room in the Otherworld, a heartbeat and heavy breathing can be heard.
- The cutscene in Maria's cell in the labyrinth seems to reference an episode of Twin Peaks, in which James's normally mousy girlfriend Donna comes onto him in an uncharacteristically sultry fashion while he is in the sheriff's holding cell. A shaken James later comments to a mutual friend: "It's almost like she wanted to do it with me through the bars or somethin'..."
- The gallows platform in the prison shows two executioners wearing triangle-shaped headgear holding spears, with a person in the middle hanged by a noose. This is likely foreshadowing of Maria being killed by the two Pyramid Heads.
- Maria's death in the labyrinth is a mystery.
- There is speculation that the cause of her death was part of her manifestation. The blood/bruising on Maria's cheek is reminiscent of Mary's facial disfigurement from her terminal illness, as seen in the "In Water" and "Leave" endings. It is after the camera has finished panning to a close-up on Maria's face that James aptly calls out "Mary...". Also of note is that the dirt walls that make up some halls of the labyrinth (including the ones immediately after James leaves her cell) are of similar color and rendering as Mary's aforementioned disfigurement.
- In the novel, when James discovers Maria's body in the labyrinth cell, he notices a gunshot wound in her chest, which led him to think that Eddie shot her. This may be the explanation behind her death in the game. One could assume Eddie shot Maria in anger upon rejection, supposedly like all the other girls in his life, and touched her face after feeling her body, hence Maria's bloody face. This would also explain Eddie's unstable mental health when James encounters him. However, Masahiro Ito claimed Eddie did not kill anyone, contradicting this theory, although there is a chance Ito is incorrect and unaware of this possible plot detail.
- One could theorize that there was a gun secretly hidden in the room and Maria used it to kill herself after James left.
- A hack in the game can allow Maria to accompany James throughout the rest of the game. Through a cheat system or by downloading a hacked save file, the player can hack the Old Bronze Key in their inventory, allowing Maria and James to enter the Silent Hill Historical Society and skip the entire hospital level where Maria dies. However, the player must protect her extremely well as it is still game over if she dies. Humorously, there are two Marias in the jail cell scene, and she floats above Toluca Lake during the boat ride.
- Another glitch in the game occurs within the hospital hallway where Pyramid Head is. Sometimes, Pyramid Head will spawn in front of Maria. This is mostly useful in Hard Difficulty, as Pyramid Head will still march forward, ignoring Maria and making it impossible for her to die.
- There is also a glitch that takes place only in the Silent Hill HD Collection. When Maria is impaled by the two Pyramid Heads near the game's end, the texture for her right eye is briefly replaced by the texture of her teeth.
- In Silent Hill 3, if a memory card with a Silent Hill 2 save is being used, Heather Mason finds a poster in Heaven's Night of a woman with long dark hair with "Return of Lady Maria!" on it. This could suggest that Maria's appearance was actually based on a dancer in Heaven's Night. In "The Making of Silent Hill 2", Takayoshi Sato, the CGI creator of Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2, stated that Maria had bleached her hair from brunette to blonde and added pink tips.
- In Silent Hill 3, when inputting the Konami Code to make Douglas Cartland wear boxers, Maria's moan from the "Dog" ending is heard to confirm the code has been entered correctly.
- Like Lisa Garland, Maria may be a PTV addict. Maria is seen swallowing a pill in the hospital. The pill bottle appears to say "white" on it, which may be White Claudia, seemingly affirming this speculation.
- Maria appears on the cover of Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams (in Japan), the Silent Hill 2 Soundtrack, and the Silent Hill HD Collection.
- The polygonal structure of Maria's face is the same one as Mary's. This was implied by Takayoshi Sato, who designed Maria and Mary. However, Sato also explains that he made Maria's and Mary's skulls shaped slightly differently, so that their resting faces would be somewhat dissimilar.
- Maria is the final boss for three of the four presumed-canon endings, compared to Mary being the final boss for only one.
Maria has a number of music pieces which can be associated with her.
- Born from a Wish
- "Terror in the Depths of the Fog" — Plays when Maria refrains from suicide
- "Love Psalm" — Maria's theme that plays in Born from a Wish's credits
- Letter from Silent Heaven
- "Null Moon" — Plays when James meets Maria
- "Magdalene" — Plays after Maria is killed in Brookhaven
- "Fermata in Mistic Air" — Plays after Maria dies in the labyrinth
- "Promise" — Maria's theme that plays during the "Maria" ending